Conflict among the crowds

Date: Friday, July 19

ScriptureActs 14:1-28

Verse: “Friends, why are you doing this? We are mortals just like you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” (Acts 14:15)

Last Friday in Vacation Bible School the kids were learning how reading the Bible helps us “stand strong” (the theme for the week). At the closing assembly, a table was on the stage with some balloons tied to plastic cups. All day the kids had been using the cups to represent idols, which they identified as television, video games, cool clothes, and things like that. At the appropriate moment one of the men from the church fired up a leaf blower and pointed it at the balloons, which the kids were told represented them. Of course the plastic cups could not hold the balloons in place. Then the balloons were tied to Bibles, and when the leaf blower then hit the balloons they were able to “stand strong.” 

Similarly when the people of Lystra, who have not yet been introduced to Jesus, see a lame man healed, they immediately attribute Paul and Barnabas’ power to the gods they know – Zeus and Hermes. How seductive it must have been for Paul and Barnabas when the people came to treat them like gods. Instant fame and even the opportunity to become wealthy from the sacrifices the people were bringing. It would have been pretty easy to rationalize this as something God would want them to accept for all of the struggle they had gone through in previous cities, and what they had done for this man who could not walk. Instead they use it as a teaching moment for a lesson we too need to hear. 

Too often we are willing to give the credit to plastic cups and not God. We put our trust in other people, our intellect, our power (as Paul and Barnabas could have), luck, circumstances, or whatever other idol we have come to rely on. Paul and Barnabas are quick to point people to Jesus who has ushered God’s Kingdom into our world at this time. May we too see God at work in the world around us. 

Prayer: Holy Spirit speak to me, showing me the idols to which I have become accustomed. Amen.

Action: Work to give all the credit to God this weekend for that which happens in your life. 

Respond: What are some idols we as a society have gotten used to seeing with power? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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